|Easygoing Cutler trying to become more vocal leader for Broncos|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 20 November 2007 12:03|
DENVER (AP) -When veterans speak, Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler listens.|
John Lynch and Champ Bailey recently sought out Cutler and asked him to be more of a vocal leader.
Cutler got the message and responded by turning in one of his finest games in a Broncos uniform. Cutler was 16-for-21 for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-20 win over the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
The mild-mannered Cutler isn't a rah-rah person. It's not his personality.
But with offensive linemen Tom Nalen and Ben Hamilton out for the season with injuries, and Travis Henry and Javon Walker dealing with knee ailments, the Broncos needed someone to be a strong voice in the huddle.
That's why Lynch and Bailey approached Cutler.
``They wanted me to be more vocal, and I think I've been able to do that,'' said Cutler, who had a career-best 137 passer rating against Tennessee. ``I felt good. We had a great game plan.''
The Titans saw another side of Cutler - his elusiveness. He scrambled from pressure on several occasions to make big plays. He had a 48-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley in the first quarter and a 41-yard strike to Brandon Marshall in the third. Both times he vacated the pocket and made the pinpoint throws on the move.
Cutler resembled his 2006 draft classmate Vince Young, who's known for his slick footwork in eluding defenders.
``He did look like Vince,'' Marshall said with a grin. ``Jay knows how to break those tackles and keep his eyes upfield. He's great. I'm just happy to have him as my quarterback. Jay is going to be one of the best in this league.''
Cutler had a chance to square off with Young, the quarterback picked eight spots ahead of him in the draft - in front of a national audience, no less.
And while Young had splashier numbers - throwing for 305 yards and a touchdown - Cutler got the victory, and then kudos from his counterpart.
``He's doing an awesome job here,'' Young said. ``He's trying to fill some big shoes of John Elway. He will be all right.''
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was just as impressed with Cutler's ability to manage the game as his touchdown throws. Cutler converted 6 of 12 third-down situations and didn't try to force passes. Cutler has thrown just one interception in his past four games.
``He works at it and puts in a lot of great effort and shows a lot of poise,'' Shanahan said. ``He has the ability to make the plays in the clutch. Those are the characteristics of a great quarterback.''
Denver's offense finally broke out with 359 yards. The Broncos scored four touchdowns of at least 40 yards for the first time in franchise history.
Two of the big plays came from unlikely sources. Andre Hall broke off a 62-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to wrap up the Broncos' second straight win. Glenn Martinez also returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown, the Broncos' first since Rod Smith had a 65-yard punt return against San Diego on Nov. 16, 2003.
``Me and Andre certainly got our chances and opportunities and we're making the best of them,'' Martinez said. ``It just shows what can happen when you work hard every day in practice.''
Hall, the third-string running back, had just eight carries this season heading into the game Monday night.
But with Henry inactive for the second straight week because of a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and Selvin Young tweaking his knee in the second half, Hall got his shot. He finished with 89 yards on seven carries.
``He was huge,'' Cutler said. ``It was good that he could get a little confidence in him. I'm just really proud of our guys. Coach Shanahan challenged us this week. We wanted to put up 30-to-40 points on them. We stepped up. We just need to keep the momentum and keep playing well.''
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